While house calls are a thing of the past for most health care facilities, the concept of community-based medical homes in the Army is second to none in bringing health care closer to patients.

Located in El Paso's Eastside is Rio Bravo Medical Home, part of William Beaumont Army Medical Center. The medical home's location significantly increases access to care for dependents and retirees in the surrounding community.

Not only is the medical home easier to access for patients in the community, the medical home's emphasis is patient-centered care, which partners beneficiaries with teams of healthcare providers to develop comprehensive, personal healthcare plans.

"We take care of all patients from pediatrics to geriatrics," said William Evrage, group practice manager, Rio Bravo Medical Home, WBAMC. "We do everything that the Army medical homes do."

The all-civilian staff at Rio Bravo Medical Home plays a key role in achieving high patient satisfaction scores in patient surveys due to the continuity in care provided. According to the patient surveys, Rio Bravo Medical Home was the highest rated outlying clinic at WBAMC for three out of four quarters during the last fiscal year.

"There are fewer turnovers," said Evrage, a native of Weatherford, Texas. "I don't have military (personnel) being reassigned or tasked with extra duties."

The two healthcare teams are also augmented with a float provider, which fills unexpected absences when necessary. Another valued benefit to patients is the staff's punctuality, with appointments trailing each other in 20-minute intervals.

"The patients should not be waiting beyond their appointment time," said Yvonne Aubel-Mazza, registered nurse and case manager, Rio Bravo Medical Home. "Patients are definitely used to (access to care) which to me is very impressive. I've been in the medical field for eight years and even at other providers I've waited up to three hours in the lobby."

According to Aubel-Mazza, even the community-based medical home's laboratory and pharmacies expeditiously take care of patient needs with one to two minute wait times. The location of the medical home, just two blocks off El Paso's I-10, also plays a role in patient's timely commute for scheduled appointments.

"Patients like us being in the community where they don't have to go through gates or expect delays," said Aubel-Mazza, a native of El Paso.

"We're away from (WBAMC) and away from Fort Bliss because this is where people live," said Evrage. "If their healthcare is more accessible they're more likely to come here for their needs versus going to an urgent care or ER somewhere else."

Almost 8,000 patients are enrolled at Rio Bravo Medical Home, with 60 percent being dependents, 30 percent retirees and the remaining 10 percent is allocated for select military personnel.

"We want first-call resolutions; we don't ever want to have to take messages," said Evrage. "When you eliminate unnecessary face-to-face appointments, it creates access for beneficiaries needing those appointments."

As a former Army infantry officer, Evrage said he wouldn't want his family to go anywhere else.

"We're here. We're dedicated to taking care of Soldiers and their families. If their families need something we are the people they come to," said Evrage. "We strive for Rio Bravo to be a place where patients feel comfortable. Rio Bravo exemplifies the transformation of Army Medicine."

For more information contact the Rio Bravo Medical Home at 915-742-9722.